UK relocations group, MoveHub, has investigated the three most common methods used to obtain citizenship in other countries – including citizenship by investment (CBI), where you can buy your way into a new homeland.
While heritage – proving you have direct ancestry in the destination country – is the easiest way to gain dual-citizenship, many countries are clamping down and dissuading people from taking this route, MoveHub said.
The second method – naturalisation – often takes a long time (depending on the country), and may require the applicant to give up their original nationality.
That leaves the third method – CBI – where some countries allow you to buy your way in through investment. This involves either purchasing land, or investing in local companies.
However, this does not come cheap, and according to MoveHub, even the most affordable CBI routes come at the same price as a private island somewhere else in the world.
The group looked at CBI programmes across the globe, and found that the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu had the cheapest buy-in at £103,247 (R2 million). This was followed by St. Lucia at £153,497 (R2.9 million) and Grenada at £159,637 (R3.05 million).
On the other end of the scales, to buy your way into Cyprus it would cost a whopping £2.1 million (R40.1 million) – the same price you would pay for a 50 hectare private island in Belize.
Citizenship by investment programmes
|1||Cyprus||£2 126 101||R40 667 062|
|2||Austria||£1 699 660||R32 510 298|
|3||Malta||£981 711||R18 777 707|
|4||Bulgaria||£434 167||R8 304 542|
|5||Dominica||£268 414||R5 134 097|
|6||St Kitts & Nevis||£200 664||R3 838 206|
|7||Antigua & Barbuda||£197 625||R3 780 078|
|8||Grenada||£159 637||R3 053 461|
|9||St Lucia||£153 497||R2 936 018|
|10||Vanuatu||£103 247||R1 974 860|
The 2015 Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) Report – which looked at a number of factors to determine the best countries for investment and the advantages across immigration law, tax and quality of living – previously found that Portugal, Austria and Belgium were the world’s best residence by investment countries.
Portugal’s requirements to qualify for the programme were adjusted in 2015, lowering the overall cost.
To buy residency in Portugal via investment, you can invest in rural real estate to the value of €350,000 (R5.6 million), or support an artistic production or a natural heritage investment for €250,000 (R4 million), or invest in a small or medium-sized enterprise to the value of €500,000 (R8 million).
The GRCP report was compiled by Henley & Partners, focusing specifically on high net worth individuals who can gain citizenship through smart investing.